6 Tips To Stay Motivated During A-Level Revision

Exams are a stressful period for any student, when you're starting at a mountain of revision that needs to be learnt before the testing date. Motivation is one of the biggest blockers for revision, so here are 6 tips to getting through your doubts and procrastination in order to revise effectively and get your grades.

Last Updated: 18th May 2019

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School exam season is an extremely stressful period for any student. There’s no question about it.

It’s easy to let the exam pressure start to grate on you and let the procrastination bug kick in. After weeks or months of revising in preparation, you’re nearly at the end… but it doesn’t feel quite like it.

Because of this, it can be difficult to keep motivated through the arduous exam timetable. Before you can get ready for your summer plans, you have to get through this final step. It’s really important that you stay at peak performance at this stage. Just think about what you’ll get out of putting the time in here; your dream university place, the perfect job! 

In this guide, we’ll explore how you can break the cycle of inefficiency and make it through these final few weeks of exam revision. Let’s get started!

Why Can't I Get Motivated?

Before we can begin to solve your motivation problem, you may find it useful to understand why you’re struggling in the first place. There are any number of reasons why these few weeks are feeling so difficult, so let’s unpack a few: 

These are all tricky issues to work around and some certainly can’t be instantly solved with our tips. If you’ve left your revision to the last minute, all hope is not lost but you’re not going to be able to pace yourself in the best possible way. 

However, the tips we have to offer are still excellent ways to ease the process and get you back into the swing of things in time for your exams. So, let’s take a look at how you can motivate yourself to study:  

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How To Motivate Yourself To Study

1. Switch Up Your Revision Strategy

You’ve been stuck doing the same routine now for weeks: 

This calls for a change of tactic! It is time to start varying your revision methods. Do something completely out of the ordinary for yourself.

That paragraph that just won’t get stuck into your mind? Set your phone on record and read it out loud. Now listen back to it. Sure you might hate the sound of your voice, but I’m willing to bet you remember 70% more of what the passage actually says.

If you really, really hate the sound of your own voice, try someone else’s. Find a podcast on your given topic and get listening. Usually, there are revision podcasts aimed at the A/AS level specification so it will be relevant. 

More of a visual learner? Take a risky trip to YouTube, avert your eyes from what you normally watch, and find a video on your revision topic. There’s guaranteed to be a great one out there. YouTube channels like SnapRevise have lots of useful revision videos. Be creative and look for something that works for your learning style.

2. Incentivise yourself

Nothing good comes easy. Good things come from hard work. Hard work should be rewarded. These 3 statements are the basis of this motivation strategy. Yes, the end goal is getting the A* grades you want, but what about all the hard work in-between?

You should reward the smaller steps you take on reaching your overall goal. Incentivise yourself with little bonuses for little achievements. If you planned to revise intensively for 3 hours for Chemistry and did exactly that, then treat yourself with a visit to some friends or play a game for a bit. These small victories are what will keep you going through the stressful exam period.

UniAdmissions Tip:

Don’t set yourself up for failure – we’re all for ambition but make your goals realistic. Setting achievable goals that still require hard work will make you feel that you’re progressing rather than always playing catch-up. Having a more positive and reasonable approach will make revision so much easier.

3. Get A Study Buddy

A problem shared is a problem halved. If you’ve got a friend sitting the same exam as you, then why not get together for some revision practise?

You’ll be able to work through difficult topics with each other and you’ll be able to explain things to each other, improving your understanding and helping them out at the same time.

It also helps to know that you’re not the only one in this situation. Scrolling through Facebook or Twitter might give you the impression that others are out having fun when you’re stuck inside revising. In truth, this probably isn’t the case. Facebook has a nasty habit of creating this impression.

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4. Throw Yourself a Curveball

If you’re really struggling to get yourself motivated at all, then it’s time for something completely different. Similar to switching up your revision strategy, do something completely out of the ordinary for your revision.

Do you usually work at home on your desk? Move out to the garden or a quiet coffee shop. Do you usually start revision at lunchtime? Set your alarm to get you up at the crack of dawn and do the same amount of revision but finish much earlier.

Changing things up completely can have a great effect on your revision. While you may be used to starting revising at 12PM, psychologically your mind is already thinking “time to switch off”. Changing your schedule and environment drastically will refresh all of these thoughts and help you make the most of the time you have.

5. Get those endorphins flowing

Revision often means being stationary for hours at a time. This isn’t great for your concentration. Every 45 minutes – 1 hour get up out of where you revise and get some blood flowing. You could go for a short walk, do a few push-ups or play with your dog. If you’re looking to get into running or general exercise, try the NHS Couch to 5K

These little breaks do a world of good for your revision focus. They’ll feel good while you’re doing them, and you’ll reap the benefits when you return to revision afterwards.

6. Lose The Phone

In the modern day, what do you think is the biggest killer of revision and efficiency? If you said smartphones, you’d be correct. 

Many studies have been done across the world exploring the relationship between smartphones and academic performance (most of which present a negative relationship), but it doesn’t take year of research to understand how a smartphone could negatively impact your school work or revision. 

In the current landscape of social media and video-sharing apps, everything is designed around keeping retention, meaning these apps will do everything possible to keep your attention. Of course, this means that your attention isn’t going towards your revision, and when it’s so easy to access this never-ending stream of content, it can be difficult to break the cycle and regain your focus. 

Smartphones have many apps that can benefit your revision, such as flashcard apps and online question banks, as well as simple things like timers and calculators. However, you will either need to find ways to make the distracting stuff unavailable to you (deleting apps, downloading an app blocker, setting up time-limits, etc), or you need to get replacements for these things so that you can leave your phone in the other room. 

Motivation is a big killer when it comes to exam revision, especially in the last few weeks, but these 6 tips are guaranteed to help with it. Just keep in mind why you’re revising – it’s all going to be worth it!

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